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Yearly Archives: 2017
Burning Bowl Ceremony
Rev. Kelly Isola tells this story:
One friend told me that the purpose of life was to have fun & think only positive and therefore she replaced all other possibilities that could have been, with the pursuit of fun and wishful thinking and thus expended her time.
Another friend proclaimed that power money and success was the purpose of life and therefore he excluded all other potential richness of life for the pursuit of his goal and thus expended his time.
Yet a third friend calmly admitted that he did not know what the purpose of life was and that he was not sure that such a construct even existed.
Ironically it was this third friend who came to enjoy the fruits of an abundant lifestyle, a joyful attitude, and a confident courageous demeanor, while the first two are still busy proving themselves to their pretense.
Why? The third friend was empty, and therefore ready to be filled; Humbled, so ready to be exalted; uncertain, and so commanded wisdom and confident strength.
When we think we know what’s best for us, we get the limit of our crystalized idea.
When we know that what is best for us is the working of the heart and not the mind, we experience the fruit of our courage.
Just some thoughts prior to our Service….
Ceremonies or rituals are, and have been, used in every society, religion and political process. The value of ceremony is to make an occasion solemn and important and aim at preserving the result from doubt and opposition.
Thus, through our ritual this morning please stay with me as best as you are able so you receive the fullness of the rituals.
The purpose of the Burning Bowl Ceremony is to release old patterns, beliefs, emotions, resentments, feelings of victimhood and injury or anything that impedes you from realizing your true self. By releasing the old unwanted conditions, you clear the way for beginnings. Then you focus your attention on what you would like to create in your life
Let us this day remove some of our blocks to our Christ Consciousness and let our Light and Love shine out more brightly.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” -Maulana Jelaluddin Rumi
“This is a time in which we release the past and lay hold of our good in the now and for the future. We shall achieve this release by denying any error thoughts and behavior patterns we wish to eliminate, and we shall lay hold of our good by affirming – by making firm – the patterns of True thoughts that will bring the good we desire into manifestation.”
“The process of releasing begins with forgiveness of all injury, both real and imagined. We recall the Truth that we are spirit, perfect, holy, and harmonious, and that nothing can hurt us or make us sick or afraid for spirit is God, and God can never be sick, or hurt, or afraid.”
“We take a time of quiet now to call to mind all those persons or incidents in our lives, which we need to forgive.”
“We recognize the intensity of the emotions these memories generate in us, and we do not condemn ourselves for the way we feel. We choose, however, to change our injured feelings to feelings of harmony, love, and peace.”
“We know we have the power to change our emotions because our emotions are the result of our thoughts, because God gave us that power when the Divine gave us dominion over the earth and all things in it. We know that we must learn forgiveness, and we begin this learning process by becoming willing to forgive.”
Matthew 5:22-24 “But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say ‘You fool’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So, when you are offering your gift at the alter, if you remember something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”
HAND OUT papers & pens
Silently ask what is ready to be lifted from you now. Allow people, places, things, feelings, addictions or patterns of behavior to arise in your conscious mind and as you recognize them, begin to write them down on your paper. As you agree to release them, trust that they are being treated perfectly by God as you release them from your human concern, anxiety, fear or resentment. Your Highest Good is intimately connected to the Highest Good of all who are in your life – as you release them from your worry they are released into God’s care at once. With each name, thought, feeling or internal pattern you release, peacefulness grows within you. Allow this process to continue for the next couple of minutes, writing down what you are given to release.
When you feel so moved, set you denial afire in the flame of one of the candles and drop the denial into our burning bowl, releasing the energy and power you have previously given that condition back to the potential for good from which it came.”
“As the fire transforms the energy contained in the paper into heat energy, so your denial releases the seeming power this condition has had in your life, and transforms that power into the purging fire of the Spirit
As you drop your denial into the burning bowl, repeat silently: This condition is no longer a part of my life. The forgiving love of God, the Truth of Jesus Christ now makes me free.’
Silently return to your seat and continue your time of reflection until all have finished.”
May what you have released here be forever gone from your spirit and cease to trouble you. May you be relieved and renewed, ever mindful that love is always more powerful than fear, and that compassion is the key to freedom from resentment. Visualize this all dissolving and leaving your life.
We can focus on the ending and just feel gratitude that it is over or we can truly feel gratitude for the blessings and growth the years has blessed us with.
Now, let us affirm together, “I empty myself, so that I can accept the good that awaits me.” Let’s say that three times together to impress it upon our sub-consciousness.
Letter to God
Jesus, our Way-Shower, understood the power of vision coupled with intention. He cast a vision every time he talked about the kingdom of heaven. He had the unique capacity to live fully in the moment while envisioning the dream of what was possible. His life-affirming vision formed his thoughts, words and actions. He held the vision of an awakened life not just for himself but for each one of us as well.
Visioning is exciting and fun. We become exhilarated about the upcoming year as we see new possibilities. The challenge begins when we endeavor to manifest our dreams. We intend to live congruently with our dream, then life gets in the way. Old paradigms try to pull us back. Outer conditions overwhelm our newfound enthusiasm, and before we know it, we are repeating the same old self-defeating patterns.
This is why the spiritual practice of faith is vital. Jesus demonstrated the power of faith with his laser-beam focus on the presence of Divine Spirit regardless of any outer condition. He taught us how to look beyond perceived limitations to see only the evidence of good and the infinite flow of abundance.
We are reminded that everything is created twice—first in mind, then in the physical realm. We are the channel through which Creative Mind expresses. When we anchor our being in this Truth, we are no longer bystanders, we are active participants. We understand that our dreams and desires are the way Spirit expresses and expands Its presence in us and in our world.
Take time to create a vision for yourself for the next 365 days. Imagine it is December 31, 2018, and you are reviewing the past year. What successes did you experience? How have you grown in your relationships and what are the highlights of your year? What new wonder unfolded for us? Allow your imagination to roam.
Write a brief letter to your indwelling Christ, describing the good you wish to see manifest in your life in the months ahead. “How will you create this New Year? What are your goals, your dreams, your plans?”
When you have finished writing, seal the letter and have a time of blessing. You may leave your letters in the basket at the door at the end of our service. No one but you will ever see the letter unless you show it to another person. It will be mailed back to you early summer.
Here’s my to-do list for each one of us for the new year so that we might co-create a world that works for all and see our great expectations transform our world.
· Recognize that you are a sparkling present from the cosmos and it is time to unwrap yourself and share yourself with the entire world.
· Sing love songs to your soul. It’s not about carrying a tune; it’s about playing the symphony that is you.
· Treasure your loved ones, even when they seem unlovable. It is in those toughest moments they are saying most loudly, “Somebody, please love me.”
· Look each day in the mirror knowing what you are—love made visible.
· Know you are an angel and an ancestor with this planet. Your presence here now makes a difference, while at the same time leaving an echo of perfection for those who are yet to be born.
· Find adventure in every day and notice how your courage to do new things, big and small, inspires others to unwrap themselves for the world too.
· Realize that with every sadness you are blessed to have your heart cracked wide open. One of the great mysteries in life is that by feeling our suffering we also invite in the possibility of feeling great joy. Suffering and joy are your partners in wholeness.
· Delight in the knowing that your light has already illuminated darkened paths, your gaze has already lifted broken spirits, and your gentle life has changed the destiny of all you have touched.
· Keep the awareness alive that you carry the peace of the world within yourself.
Remember that the force moving the stars is the same force that moves the human heart. Embrace this cosmic view, and you will know that this force is alive in all things. So, open yourself to the movement of the stars and the movement of your heart, realizing you are a necessary part of the interconnectedness of all life.
You are a soul in evolution, not perfected, but perfect in your unfoldment. Just as the rose discloses its perfection at every stage of its development, from seed, to shoot, to stalk, to bud, to flowering blossom, to dormant winter plant—so you are perfect in your every level of expression. You uniquely shine forth the perfection of the whole of you in each step of your soul evolution.
Your soul is always in process. This means your soul is not a noun, but a verb. It is, in a sense, the conjugation of the verb “to be”—the process of the unfoldment of your inner being.
You are evolving, you are growing—you aren’t supposed to have it all together! You must embrace your soul, accepting and loving yourself just as you are and grow forward from there.
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
What’s in a name? We talked about this a bit several times, looking at the creation story in Genesis, where ‘Adam” is given the task of naming all the creatures of the earth, thus having ‘dominion’ over them, metaphysically. That mean we are to have dominion over our thoughts.
So how important is a name? If we know our name, will we have dominion over ourselves? Interesting thought.
My name, or the story revolving around my name, could be considered interesting. I grew up believing my ‘official’ name was Sundra, some joke of my fathers to curse me for the rest of my life. No one has the name Sundra.
So, one day after I was on my own, my Mother choose to gift me with all my ‘important papers’, birth certificate, baptism certificate, certificate of vaccination.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my name was not Sundra, but Sondra. All these years wrong. All my official papers, wrong!
In fact, a former neighbor said my nickname should be Sonny, not Sandy!
Spiritually, a name means the character, or nature of that which is named.
SO, I wonder if not using my ‘real’ name all these years has led to my feelings of not fitting in ….? Not knowing my true name? Hummm…But that’s another days’ lesson.
What it does is lead us to our Children’s Christmas story for this week, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Have you watched the 1970 movie? It’s based upon a song written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie and was first sung on Eddie Cantor’s radio show in November 1934. It became an instant hit.
Again, something from our past to brighten our days.
The song and film tells the story of how Santa Claus and several Claus-related Christmas traditions came to be and it’s the story of Saint Nicholas.
And, as our previous two stories, it is a perennial favorite, it continues to air every year
Our story has a Grinch-like person in Burgermeister Meisterburger
Talk about having a name issue!
After being asked to raise an orphan baby, Burgermeister sends the baby to the “Orphan Asylum”. Due to a storm, the Baby never makes it there, but instead, ends up with the Elves- the Kringle Family in Rainbow River Valley…catch that name?
Tanta Kringle , the elf queen, and the five Kringle elf brothers Ringle, Dingle, Zingle, Tingle and Wingle, adopt the baby and name him “Kris”. As Kris grows up, he hopes to restore the Kringle family as “The First Toymakers to the King”.
When Kris is old enough, he volunteers to deliver the elves’ toys to nearby Sombertown; again a name issue!
Unfortunately, Mayor. Meisterburger falls because of a toy and so outlaws all toys in the town of Sombertown.
In the town, he offers toys to two children washing their stockings by a water fountain. He is stopped by Miss Jessica, their schoolteacher, but she softens toward Kris when he offers her a china doll as a “peace offering”.
As Kris gives more toys, the Burgermeister arrives to arrest the children, but Kris gives him a yo-yo. He at first happily plays with it, but Grimsley, his assistant, reminds him he’s breaking his own law, leading to Burgermeister ordering Kris’ capture.
As Kris returns to the Kringles, the Winter Warlock captures them. But when Kris gives him a toy train as a present, the Warlock befriends Kris. To repay him, he re-unites Kris with Jessica who informs him that the Burgermeister has destroyed all the toys and the children now want new ones.
Kris promises to do so if the children behave themselves, promising to watch them through his magic snowball. When the Burgermeister hears that Kris means to bring more toys, he orders all doors and windows to be locked as their houses are searched. But Kris enters by the chimneys where the children hung their stockings to dry by the fire and where Kris hides the toys.
So. Burgermeister sets a trap, and captures the Kringles and Winter. Jessica pleads to release her friends, but he refuses. Jessica then asks Winter to break everyone out, but he has no magic left except some magic feed corn that make reindeer fly. With the reindeer’s help, they all escape.
Kris is now an outlaw, so he grows a beard as a disguise. After Elf Queen Tanta suggests that he return to his birth name “Claus” for safety, Kris marries Jessica and the group travels to the North Pole to build their own castle and workshop.
As the years pass, Kris still has to travel by night because he’s still an outlaw. Eventually, the Meisterburgers die off and fell out of power and their laws were abolished.
The townspeople then look to Kris who becomes Santa Claus and Jessica becomes Mrs. Claus. Santa then decides to limit his journeys to one night a year and chooses the right night. Christmas Eve, the night of love.
Just as Santa is getting ready to leave, Winter tells him that he has his magic powers back to guarantee the world a white Christmas.
Did you catch all the Santa traditions that supposedly were started because of this tale? Santa’s beard, stockings by the chimney, flying reindeer, Kris Kringle, white Christmas, watching for good children…
Remember, this is suppose to be the story of Saint Nicholas, the 4th century Christian monk from Asia Minor.
What Lessons do we have here to learn, if we so choose?
Anything that brings joy to others brings joy & meaning to us
Being kind overpowers the not so kind intentions of others
Once again, we see that Love conquers all
Being true to ourselves is our answer to any question…what I call INTEGRITY.
Kris chose Christmas Eve to deliver his toys because it is “the night of profound love. “So you can see, why I chose “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” as the example of the Advent theme of Love. Kris and his friends found ways to express Love to Sombertown and to the world.
Advent is a time to contemplate the true nature of love, and allow its creative energy to direct our thoughts and actions.
We bring more love into our lives by letting love express through us. To get more one must give more….that works for many things…love, money, good will….
As William Shakespeare said regarding love; “The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.”
And it again is an example of Jesus’ directive:
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV)
The only examples of anything not love were expressed by others…
Burgermeister Meisterburger & his assistant, Grimsley, rather Scrooge like…and that name. I suggest we be careful what we name our children and even our pets!
The Winter Warlock, until he receives a toy train from Kris, which only goes to prove if you give a train to someone, you have made a friend!
Thank You for You and Your Gifts
What are we talking about today???? YOU! You and your gifts.
Drink that in…we are honoring you and all you bring to not just Unity but to this world…this Multiverse.
And before you start into that…who me, I’m nothing, routine…let me stop you right there. Yes you!
Remember that Marianne Williamson quote from last week?
That means you do have the right to feel appreciated, to feel the love we have for you.
You are the heart and soul of Unity of Rehoboth Beach. YOU make this Spiritual Center tick. Hear those words…YOU are the heart of this Unity.
Jesus frequently begins and ends parables with the command, “Listen!” It is a call to not only hear the messages with our ears, but to listen with spiritual understanding.
With a spiritual heart…a thankful heart.
A THANKFUL heart is one that is oriented to the good in all persons and in all situations. A thankful heart recognizes even the slightest bit of good that is apparent, for it is attuned to God and believes in God’s omnipresence. In fact, a truly thankful person gives thanks for the good he or she cannot see, knowing that it is present on the spiritual level.
And a person with a thankful heart knows that thankfulness has the power to increase and to bring forth good.
That is why it is a true blessing when we BLESS anything….we are asking for an increase in the goodness that we have.
When we begin to acknowledge our blessings, our vision expands to include all good.
I include you in my good.
Ephesians 5:18-20 “Be filled with the Spirit . . . always and for everything giving thanks”
Many of us question our worth…no matter how often we are reminded that we are holy, blessed of the Creator.
Wayne Dyer reminds us, “no matter what the problem, the main issue to work on is LOVING THE SELF. This is the “magic wand” that dissolves problems.
Remember the times when you have felt good about yourself and how well your life was going? Remember the times when you were in love and for those periods you seemed to have no problems?
Well, loving yourself is going to bring such a surge of good feelings and good fortune to you that you will be dancing on air. LOVING YOURSELF MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD.”
Take the focus off what is “not working” and instead, lets look at what IS working. Take some time now and bring to mind the things and people that are working in your life.
No looking back at what was, what happened in the past. This is NOW. What is good NOW.
See! Look! Pay attention to what is right in front of you!
Write down your good qualities. Write down what’s going on in your life. List the people in your life that are good for you and your life. Write small because you have a lot to be grateful for!
Now you have a go to list of good. Something for your Tool Box of helping ideas to get you through a tough day. Any time you need a lift, a reminder of who you truly are…of all the good in your life….you take that list out and remind yourself of WHO YOU TRULY ARE.
Don’t let your mind go on and on with old chatter. You have trained your mind to belittle you and be resistant to change. Ignore those thoughts and get on with the important work at hand…loving yourself!
All good begins with accepting that which is within one’s self, and loving that self which is you. It can take quite a while to develop a peaceful, loving relationship with yourself.
When we are grateful, we are present to everything in our lives. We are grateful for it all because we see God in it all.
Too often we think of gratitude as the result of something. Someone does something nice for us, and we feel grateful. That is passive gratitude.
Dwyer suggests active gratitude. Conscious gratitude. Active gratitude is a way of living, a way of being.
When we choose active gratitude, we are choosing to change our energy. We are using the law of attraction to bring to us more love, more good health and more abundance. We are co-creating our life with God.
As you begin a gratitude practice, you will be guided to the next logical step. Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore said, “Pray and move your feet.”
If we don’t take the action we are guided to take, we are doing nothing but magical thinking. Nothing happens in life until we make a commitment. Commit to see your blessings and feel grateful for them.
And commit to those actions that make your heart sing. Whatever that may be. I am hoping some of that action, some of those gifts that are crying to be expressed, will be shared in whatever way with us at Unity.
One way to tap the power of gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. I have a Gratitude Journal for you to get started.
Most of us focus on the 10 percent of our lives that make us unhappy instead of the 90 percent for which we are grateful. Try reversing that. List the things from the 90 percent you are grateful for. By focusing on these, you enact the law of attraction and begin drawing to you even more good.
Then look at the 10 percent of your life that includes the “problem” areas—the things you want to change. Write them down, but instead of seeing them as problems, look for the blessings in them.
If you can’t see the good, then ask or, if necessary, demand to see the blessing. This is what Jacob did when he wrestled with the angel of God. He wouldn’t let the angel go until he got a blessing. You can do the same. As you begin to see the blessing in each “problem” area, write the blessings down. You’ll be surprised at how many you find.
Practice gratitude daily and your life will change in ways you can hardly imagine. Discover the beautiful life you already have, right here and now!
With each grateful thought we hold, we develop a more positive attitude about life and open ourselves more fully to the goodness of God. Each grateful thought we hold is a healing balm that transforms our lives.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another.”—John 15:12
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
(Galatians 6:9, NKJV)
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
An eccentric philosophy professor gave a one-question final exam after a semester dealing with a broad array of topics. The class was already seated and ready to go when the professor picked up his chair, plopped it on his desk and wrote on the board: “Using everything we have learned this semester, prove that this chair does not exist.”
Fingers flew, erasers erased, notebooks were filled in furious fashion. Some students wrote over 30 pages in one hour attempting to refute the existence of the chair. One member of the class however, was up and finished in less than a minute.
Weeks later when the grades were posted, the rest of the group wondered how he could have gotten an A when he had barely written anything at all.
His answer consisted of two words:
Wish life could be that simple? Maybe…. maybe not. Sometimes the complications are intriguing, even exciting as we wander through the possibilities. And then, maybe not. Maybe we want a life of easy come, easy go?
There is a part of your life that can be simpler…your Spiritual life.
It may not seem that things are getting simpler as we grow in spiritual awareness, but in fact they are. We can still choose to experience life as a complicated series of intricate challenges – and if that is our choice, that will be our experience.
Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom … and all these things shall be yours as well” (Mt. 6:33 RSV). This is the foundation of the simple life. It is God we want, and when we find our Creator, we find joy and contentment.
The things that happen to us, our memories, and our possessions are significant, but nothing is as important as our relationship with Spirit. When the simple life is lived, the earthly experience flows from our oneness with God. The Divine is the source of life and its many experiences.
But because of our conscious spiritual unfoldment, another choice presents itself. We can choose to allow only God’s will to express in our lives – not out of a sense of sacrificing our own will, but out of a clear recognition that God’s will for us and our own will for ourselves are one and the same.
What is God’s will you may ask? That is simple also…good. If it is good for all involved, that is God’s will.
The Power of God is a Power devoted to our highest and greatest good in all things. What more could we possibly want for ourselves? And since that Power knows more of ‘good’ than we do, why would we not simply allow that Power to lead us forward?
We find that that real happiness—true fulfillment—does not come from the accumulation of things. A simple, contented life flows from our oneness with God.
Once that commitment is made, we can relax, knowing that we are where we’re meant to be, experiencing what we are meant to experience, guided clearly, joyfully and lovingly every step of the way. And yes, as ‘growth opportunities’ inevitably arise, we can relax in the certainty that they are our challenges, opportunities to create even greater good.
Every good cook has a few tried and true recipes that can be relied on when all else fails. And musicians have a repertoire of pieces that can be adapted for a variety of situations.
All of us will find the challenges of life easier to deal with if we develop a spiritual repertoire as well. Whatever the situation, we know that love is the answer.
Jesus – and, indeed, every great spiritual teacher – has so assured us. But when we find ourselves caught up in anger, fear, resentment or other negative emotions, it can be difficult to find anything to love in the situation at hand.
That’s when having a toolbox is most effective. Think of people, places, images that easily suggest some of the many aspects of love you have known in your life. Children, nature scenes, pets, friends, partners – any or all of these will do to put us in touch with the deep wells of love that exist within us.
Can you think of other tools of love?
The kingdom is ours when we embrace love, health, companionship and peace of mind as the riches of an abundant life.
The process, then, is simple. Release the situation at hand,
shift your inner focus from head to heart,
call up from your ‘love repertoire’ an evocative image,
and feel the energy of love flowing through you as a result.
Take this love back to the Now moment,
and see how your perspective has changed.
Life is simplified when we are more willing to express love than to get love.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But when we are in the thick of things, so to speak, it can be difficult.
The simplicity comes in when our lives are already free of those things, people, events that no longer serve us. We forgive anyone, including ourselves, and allow the Lesson learned to sink in.
Then we analyze or review our lessons, our Truths and we come up with our Integrity.
Our integrity is our guide, our direct link to Heart Wisdom. It’s our intuition speaking to us. When we have our integrity guiding us, it’s very simple to make good choices when choice points are presented.
What’s a choice point? That’s is when you get to choose between two or more growth opportunities. It could be the choice between what to eat, where to use your money energy, or whether to let the act of being cut off in traffic get you upset.
Think of the choices you have made already today. Some were easy, habits, routine. If you took a second and thought them through…and that is all it takes…were they all good choices?
The simple life is a life of prayer—more listening and waiting than speaking and asking. We seek the kingdom by seeking an awareness of God, for we know this consciousness is the fountain of life and the answer to any human need.
We can think of prayer as a meeting between God and ourselves. God, of course, knows us well, but we know little about our Creator. There are times when we speak, but we do not let our every word be about our needs and what is happening in our world.
Friendships do not develop when one person does all the talking and is constantly asking for assistance. Powerful relationships unfold when we listen.
When you are working with Divine Spirit, they will always be good choices. You will always treat your spouse and children well. You will drive consciously. You will interact with others from your heart.
You will always be conscious in your choices.
The simple life is a life of thanksgiving, because our joy does not depend upon the world. Our joy and gratitude do not originate in conditions, but rise from our relationship with God.
By learning to say, “Thank You” to every experience we have, we move from a place of resistance, where we feel like a victim, to a place of acceptance, where we can be okay with change and eventually even embrace it.
This simple act allows us to move forward with our lives in leaps and bounds.
Unfortunately, most of the time we’re so caught up in either avoiding pain or just getting through the day that we forget to say to ourselves, Wow! Nature is crazy beautiful. Food tastes delicious. I can be the person I want to be right now. What do I want to experience next?
Here’s an affirmation I found as I was researching for this Lesson:
The externals of my life may sometimes still seem chaotic, but I am centered and at peace, knowing that in surrendering to the Power of God, I am always where I’m meant to be. Thank you, God!
Closed for renovations
The first time I had an idea to use this statement as a Lesson topic, was in a pizza shop, if you can believe that. Back home, one of my favorite pizza places was run by Italians, imagine that!
They may have been right from Italy as they spoke in broken English. One day we ordered pizza and went to pick it up. At the time the rest rooms weren’t working. The sign on the door said, ‘she no-a work!’
We teased Mom about that for a bit…
Does not work. Needs Repair. Out of order. Have you ever felt like that? When does that feeling come about?
We HUMANS are often at our wits end over one thing or another. What to do about some such ‘emergency’ or ‘crises? And we use those ‘breaking news’ terms too! Disasters, crisis, tragedies….Why do we let ourselves get into these situations? It isn’t for lack of intelligence.
We forget. We forget to remember who and what we are. WHY?
Well, Jesus said to have a single eye. In other words, to keep our thoughts on the Kingdom of Heaven. On the PRIZE.
But we forget, and we place our thoughts and ‘eye’ on material things. Our job. Money. Some item or another that will give us prestige.
We let others take our power away, we get angry, we are manipulated, fall into destructive patterns. We forget that we are children of God, that we are God in action. We forget that we create our world by our thoughts and emotions.
The Israelites did the same thing, if you recall the Hebrew Bible stories. They trusted their God and flourished in all ways. Then they forgot or were manipulated to follow a foreign “god” and fell into despair.
They were conquered by their enemies over and over again, each time they would be over whelmed, they would return to the God of their ancestors and their God would lead them out of bondage and to victory.
The Israelites would praise God and say they will never go astray again, only to miss the mark and stumble…one more time.
Metaphysically, when we look at the Hebrew Bible, we are looking at our souls’ journey.
So, how many times have you stumbled only to repent?—to repent means to turn from a belief in error to a belief in God and righteousness; a reversal of mind and heart in the direction of the All Good.
The Israelites forgot who they were time and time again. I have forgotten again and again, even after I found my Truth at Unity. It takes a while to turn to the Light and stay there sometimes, doesn’t it?
That’s what “Let there be light” can mean…turning to understanding. At the beginning of our opening prayer when I say “open your hearts and mind to the love and light that is in part we are saying open to the Truth, to the understanding of the message, that we are part of the whole, of God.
Instead of focusing our thoughts and emotions on the good in this world, we fill our minds with idle thoughts, musings about what someone did to us last year, last night or a minute ago.
Or we look to the ‘future’ and think about all the things we will say or do when we come across that person again. We expend so much energy on anger at the driver in the next car, or the red light that just turned, the button that just popped.
Why? Because we forget who we are, what we are. We forget what power we have. We let our ego mind go into ‘protect mode’ and think about how it will protect us from whatever happened.
Instead, we should be controlling our mind, our thoughts…be conscious of them and direct them in the way of our Way-shower. If we are Spiritual Beings, let’s BE Spiritual.
How can we keep from forgetting? From being unconscious? What must we do to remember that we can create a better experience for ourselves?
Charles Fillmore did a lot of research on the different religions and spiritual cultures of his era. Then, he determined which one he wanted to ‘stick with’. It so happens in was Christianity, or his understanding of it.
I’m assuming that many of you have made some research, maybe not in the way that Charles did. I started this journey looking at different religions by attending their services. Learning about them by experience. I knew there was SOMETHING more, …different, but didn’t know what.
It wasn’t until later that I started reading about different ideas, some of which were spiritual, some more New Age, some quantum physics, etc.
The important thing is I knew I needed to find IT, whatever IT was. Luckily, I found others along the way who would take the time to get into discussion about all sorts of things. The gift there was the expansion of the mind, the opening to more ideas, new ideas, for all of us.
All this time, I still felt ‘out of order’, because I didn’t know what MY Truth was. And until we all find our own Truth, we will feel that sense of uneasiness; that need to continue searching. Because we KNOW there’s something there for us.
Remember— All who are searching are not lost….just looking for more…more Truth, more questions to be asked.
So, we read. We take classes. We discuss topics with others of like mind, after we find those who are willing to discuss different topics. We ask questions. We answer questions. We pray. We meditate. We contemplate. Some days we are ‘working’. Other days we are ‘out of order.’ We DO all these things.
But we also must let go of some things/activities. Some things don’t ‘fit’ anymore and if we hang onto them, we hang onto the “Closed for Renovations” sign.
We become responsible for ourselves. We do the work. We search ourselves for our integrity.
Sometimes we have to move away from ‘friends’ who do not serve our journey. Sometimes, it’s family members. This can be a difficult thing to do. But if we don’t change our group, the support won’t be there for our journey. We must be with ‘likeminded’ people.
In the book “The Quest – A Spiritual Journey”, one of the very first things that is discussed is about having a support group to travel with you. This is why it is important to have a place like Unity. We are happy you chose us.
Not because we need to be in a ‘church’ or Center to be with Spirit, but because we have a support system here to share the journey, to support us when we have a ‘growth opportunity’ or ‘project’ (my term for problem) to work on, to have a place to ask the questions and discuss the possible answers, and often, ask more questions.
Look back to who you were and where you were 5, 10, 20 years ago. What has changed? Do you still have all the same friends? Are your favorite activities the same?
My life has changed almost completely. What used to be a normal thing for me during the summer months softball, has completely dropped from my life. Oh, I still love the game but I am no longer involved in it. And not involved in all the ‘other’ activities that went along with it; practices, games, tournaments. Where did we find the time for all that???
My friends have changed too. Softball brought a different lifestyle with it. Though I was not a drinker, many of the players were. SO, after game activities almost always included a bar somewhere.
Those friends that I have now are so much more than friends. They are confidants. They are my teachers. They are my strength, often times. And I am that to them. We are always there for each other, wherever ‘there’ is.
What has remained the same? I am still the person searching for my place in the world. Searching for God, Spirit, Divinity in all. Searching for my Truth. Most likely I will be searching until I pass on to the next great adventure.
Does anything else feel as if it may have to change? Sure, there is still work to do, still trying to figure out who I am inside.
DO you have things to work on yet?
And there you have your next ‘project’!
Have you changed your thinking, or has your thinking changed you? _ Unity of Rehoboth Beach, October 15, 2017
Have you changed your thinking, or has your thinking changed you?
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? That question could start a whole discussion of itself.
So, which came first, the thought that changed your thinking or your thinking that changed your thought?
How many for thoughts came first?
How many for thinking changed the thought?
Most people become their thoughts – they do not HAVE thoughts and feelings; the thoughts and feelings have them.
This is because most of our thoughts and feelings are subconscious. So, that would make the answer to the above question—thoughts came first….
But, once we become conscious, our thinking would create our thoughts. And as we create our thoughts, we create our lives, our world.
We’ve seen this quote before:
“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”
We’ve referenced this verse before too; the Creation Story, in Genesis 1:28, humankind is given ‘dominion’ over all creatures in the sky, the oceans and on land, everyone of them, we have dominion over Dominion means sovereignty; control.
Metaphysically, all the birds, and fish and animals are thoughts. So, we are to have control over our thoughts.
Either way we look at it, when we become conscious, we are changing our thinking. We are telling our consciousness and our subconscious what we wish to think, what we wish to create.
So, our goal is to be conscious as much as possible in your life. That way you control your thoughts.
In, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Miguel Ruiz states:
“God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say, “I love you, God,” is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, “Thank you, God,” is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now. Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.”
This is one way to be conscious.
Another is to appreciate where you are, what you are doing. You have heard of the monk who practiced mindfulness while he washed the pots and scrubbed the kitchen floor.
We could learn something for this type of spirituality. We are too often tied up in the happenings of the day. And I used the word ‘tied up’ purposely.
Doesn’t it feel as if we are tied up when we have too many items on our ‘to do’ list?
Must they ALL get done today?
When we change our thinking, we change our belief system. Coming to Unity is a perfect example of that.
I would venture a guess that most of us sitting here did not grow up in Unity churches or centers. So, what changed our thinking that brought us here?
Obviously, we were dissatisfied with the philosophy of the church we attended previously, if we even attended one.
I know I searched for a spiritual community for years, looking for that place where I felt comfortable, accepted and loved, as well as, challenged to go deeper.
I rebelled from traditional Christianity. Anthony Anxgorou said, “Rebellion is when you look society in the face and say I understand who you want me to be but I’m going to show you who I actually am.”
Nature is the basic or inherent features of something. Natural means existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind. Spirituality is natural, it is basic human nature. Spirituality is our essential nature as human beings. We are human beings, “being” human. It is our nature to be human and to “Be” or exist naturally
David Yeubanks said; “Institutional or organized Religion is more normal than natural, in fact “institutional religion actually isn’t natural, because it takes too much effort and manipulation. It is not organic, just organized. It doesn’t come naturally, it is more contrived and involves a lot of effort and prohibition of natural instincts and intuitions thru manipulation. “
He continues, “Religion actually works against nature, that’s why most folk are sloppy and sluggish about it, yet committed to the manmade struggle, almost to the point of psychosis.”
We are naturally spiritual, naturally social, naturally sensual and naturally sexual. Why are so many people afraid of being naturally human and humanely natural?
I like this graphic…it really says a lot. On the one side we have many of the thoughts that go through a persons’ mind, and the pretty much dead tree shows what happens to our psyche when we continue with this type of thought.
On the other side we see positive thoughts surrounding an obviously living tree. And easy analogy, don’t you think?
We control our mind when we recognize the fact that it can think only one thought at a time. Our thoughts cannot run riot unless we choose to permit them to do so. If we see to it that our mind is filled with constructive thoughts, it cannot think its old thoughts over and over.
If we fill our mind with thoughts of life and health, the old thoughts of weakness and physical insufficiency will have to go. If we concentrate on thoughts of love, peace, and good will, we cannot hold thoughts of hatred, animosity, and in-harmony. If we want to be happy, prosperous, and successful, we must supply the mind with thoughts of happiness, abundance, and success.
The secret of thought control lies in keeping the mind centered on thoughts of Truth
And just a reminder, our last Principal is to put your knowledge into action, or as Miguel Ruiz says:
“You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward” ― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
The Train of Life
You probably are unaware of my interest in trains. It has always been my intent to combine my love of trains and gardening to set up my garden train someplace within my garden. If you don’t know what a gareden train is, ask me.
Anyway, That idea was thwarted when I found out I wasn’t permitted to rent the house I had just moved into, because the homeowners association didn’t allow renters.
So, I have waited until I had my own home and now I intend to get that train working someplace in my new yard.
A train is usually considered a vehicle that transports a series of cars loaded with goods, or occupied with people. But there is more to it than the usual definition of trains.
A train is often used as a metaphor to our life’s journey.
One boards a train at the beginning of their life and travels through various towns and stations picking up people along the way and losing others as they depart on their own journey at a station of their choosing.
The stations represent comings and goings departures and arrivals, starts and finishes; they represent and evoke deep feelings of separation and loss, whether parents and family, friends and foes, husbands, wives, and partners, or lost loves never to be near again on this Earth. Trains can be sad.
Or happy…knowing that people leave for reasons we may not know or understand, but always for the best and highest good for all.
If we consider the track we are traveling on, sometimes it’s straight and all we can see are the views directly outside our windows. No looking back and no looking into the future.
Sometimes that’s good. Isn’t it. Why would we want to look back at what was? Shouldn’t we be “in the NOW?” Looking at what is happening right now, outside our window and appreciating it for the lessons it provides.
And dwelling on the future isn’t good either. We can only do so much to determine what that future will provide.
But then……our track curves and we can see back, and maybe recall some lesson, some event that we needed to learn. Or maybe we recall, with fondness, someone we love, or a pet that was dear to our hearts that is no longer with us. Maybe we remember some fun times with friends and family.
Those are good memories and we should recall them. But to continually be looking back will only cause us to dwell in a past that….. has past.
As I tell my Tuesday class, it’s ok to enter ‘the Valley of the Shadow’, but do not camp there. We must make our way out to the light. Some will move through the Valley swiftly. Some will camp for a while. But we all must travel through to the other side, walk over the bridge and into the sunshine.
We have learned our lesson, we have grieved our losses, now it’s time to move forward.
The other view we get on curved tracks is looking forward to what is come up. We can see a bit into the future, so to speak. We see the scenery of what’s ahead.
Again, it’s good and fun, to daydream about our future. And, certainly it gets the creative juices churning. It can be very exciting to think about what is coming up for you.
I am getting very excited about being in my new home. Not excited about packing and unpacking! But thinking about having my own home again is very exciting.
But do I sit and dream about that all day long? No! If I did, this Lesson would not have been written, the dishes would not be done. In fact, dinner would not have been made!
The point being, living in the past or the future will not accomplish anything and will do nothing for our journey.
Remember the saying, ‘it’s the journey, not the destination that counts.’
If we continue on our curved track, say traveling up a mountain, we would continue circling up the mountain. This same idea can be used to explain our journey through understanding our developing spirituality.
The theory is called Spiral Dynamics.
With Spiral Dynamics, we see human beings evolving or developing through eight major waves of consciousness. And as the spiral travels forward, we can look back, or slip back into the previous level from time to time. And we can move forward from time to time, as we work on our self-awareness or have an ah-ha moment!
Each level is given a color code too, for easy reference. See what you think:
1. .Beige: Archaic-Instinctual . The level of basic survival; food, water, warmth, sex, and safety have priority. Uses habits and instincts just to survive. Distinct self is barely awakened or sustained. Forms into survival bands to perpetuate life.
Where seen: First human societies, newborn infants, senile elderly, late-stage Alzheimer’s victims, mentally ill street people, starving masses, shell shock. Approximately 0.1% of the adult population, 0% power.
2. . Purple: Magical-Animistic. The belief in the existence of individual spirits that inhabit natural objects and phenomena; magical spirits, good and bad, swarm the earth leaving blessings, curses, and spells which determine events. Forms into ethnic tribes . The spirits exist in ancestors and bond the tribe. Kinship and lineage establish political links. Sounds “holistic” but is actually atomistic:
Where seen: Belief in voodoo-like curses, blood oaths, ancient grudges, good luck charms, family rituals, magical ethnic beliefs and superstitions; strong in Third-World settings, gangs, athletic teams, and corporate “tribes.” 10% of the population, 1% of the power.
3. . Red: Power Gods . First emergence of a self distinct from the tribe; powerful, impulsive, egocentric, heroic. Magical-mythic spirits, dragons, beasts, and powerful people. Archetypal gods and goddesses, powerful beings, forces to be reckoned with, both good and bad. Feudal lords protect underlings in exchange for obedience and labor. The basis of feudal empires –power and glory. The world is a jungle full of threats and predators. Conquers, and dominates; enjoys self to the fullest without regret or remorse; be here now.
Where seen: The “terrible twos,” rebellious youth, frontier mentalities, feudal kingdoms, epic heroes, James Bond villains, gang leaders, soldiers of fortune, New-Age narcissism, wild rock stars, Atilla the Hun, Lord of the Flies. 20% of the population, 5% of the power.
4. . Blue: Mythic Order. Life has meaning, direction, and purpose, with outcomes determined by an all-powerful Other or Order. This righteous Order enforces a code of conduct based on absolutist and unvarying principles of “right” and “wrong.” Violating the code or rules has severe, perhaps everlasting repercussions. Following the code yields rewards for the faithful. Basis of ancient nations. Rigid social hierarchies; paternalistic; one right way and only one right way to think about everything. Law and order; impulsivity controlled through guilt; concrete-literal and fundamentalist belief; obedience to the rule of Order; strongly conventional and conformist. Often “religious” or “mythic”, but can be secular or atheistic.
Where seen: Puritan America, Confucian China, Dickensian England, totalitarianism, codes of chivalry and honor, charitable good deeds, religious fundamentalism (e.g., Christian and Islamic), Boy and Girl Scouts, “moral majority,” patriotism. 40% of the population, 30% of the power.
5. . Orange: Scientific Achievement. At this wave, the self “escapes” from the “herd mentality” of blue, and seeks truth and meaning in individualistic terms, experimental, objective, “scientific” in the typical sense. The world is a rational and well-oiled machine with natural laws that can be learned, mastered, and manipulated for one’s own purposes. Highly achievement oriented, especially (in America) toward materialistic gains. The laws of science rule politics, the economy, and human events. The world is a chess-board on which games are played as winners gain pre-eminence and perks over losers. Marketplace alliances; manipulate earth’s resources for one’s strategic gains. Basis of corporate states.
Where seen: The Enlightenment, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged , Wall Street, emerging middle classes around the world, cosmetics industry, trophy hunting, colonialism, the Cold War, fashion industry, materialism, secular humanism, liberal self-interest. 30% of the population, 50% of the power.
6. Green: The Sensitive Self . Communitarian, human bonding, ecological sensitivity, networking. The human spirit must be freed from greed, dogma, and divisiveness; feelings and caring supersede cold rationality; cherishing of the earth, Gaia, life. Against hierarchy; establishes lateral bonding and linking. Permeable self, relational self, group intermeshing. Emphasis on dialogue, relationships. Basis of value communities (i.e., freely chosen affiliations based on shared sentiments). Reaches decisions through reconciliation and consensus (downside: interminable “processing” and incapacity to reach decisions). Refresh spirituality, bring harmony, enrich human potential. Strongly egalitarian, anti-hierarchy, pluralistic values, social construction of reality, diversity, multiculturalism, Subjective, nonlinear thinking; shows a greater degree of affective warmth, sensitivity, and caring, for earth and all its inhabitants.
Where seen: Deep ecology, postmodernism, Netherlands idealism, Rogerian counseling, Canadian health care, humanistic psychology, liberation theology, cooperative inquiry, World Council of Churches, Greenpeace, animal rights, ecofeminism, post-colonialism, politically correct, diversity movements, human rights issues, ecopsychology. 10% of the population, 15% of the power. [Note: this is 10% of the world population. Don Beck estimates that around 20-25% of the American population is green.
7. Yellow: Integrative. Life is a kaleidoscope of natural hierarchies. Flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality have the highest priority. Differences and pluralities can be integrated into interdependent, natural flows. Egalitarianism is complemented with natural degrees of ranking and excellence. Knowledge and competency should supersede power, status, or group sensitivity. The prevailing world order is the result of the existence of different levels of reality and the inevitable patterns of movement up and down the dynamic spiral. Good governance facilitates the emergence of entities through the levels of increasing complexity. 1% of the population, 5% of the power.
8. Turquoise: Holistic. Universal holistic system, waves of integrative energies; unites feeling with knowledge; multiple levels interwoven into one conscious system. Universal order, but in a living, conscious fashion, not based on external rules (blue) or group bonds (green). A “grand unification” is possible, in theory and in actuality. Sometimes involves the emergence of a new spirituality as a meshwork of all existence. Turquoise thinking uses the entire Spiral; sees multiple levels of interaction; detects harmonics, the mystical forces, and the pervasive flow-states that permeate any organization. 0.1% of the population, 1% of the power.
Where do you think you fit in? Where is Unity’s belief system?
Isn’t it a shame that only .1% of the population is at level 8?
Can you understand a bit better that the person you have difficulty with is at a level maybe different than you for a majority of their time. And that you, sometimes are at that same level….
I think it helps in understanding the human condition.
If you wish more information on this fascinating subject, there are several books available. And for more on a spiritual perspective, you could check out Ken Wilber’s take on Spiral Dynamics and Spirituality.
Let me finish with this by an unknown author:
“The Train of Life”
“Life is like a journey on a train… With its stations… With changes of routes… And with accidents! At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.
“As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant I.e. Our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize that they vacated their seats! Which is very sad when you think about it.
“This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all the passengers… requiring that we give the best of ourselves.
“The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way – love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty — we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.
“I wish you a joyful journey this year on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, give thanks for the journey!
“Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train!” Unknown
The Blessings of Animals
I could start this Lesson by asking how many of you are or have been pet owners, but it would probably be easier to ask, who isn’t or hasn’t been a pet owner?
There are approximately 86.4 million pet cats in the United States, approximately 78.2 million pet dogs in the United States, and 5.3 million house rabbits.
And surprisingly, in 2013, pets outnumbered children four to one in the United States!
That IS surprising, in a way, but then I think of the fact that families are ‘down-sizing’ meaning many are choosing to have fewer children, yet it’s very easy to have multiple pets, from dogs and cats to fish and gerbils, and all other varieties of animals.
And some of us choose to not have children at all, opting for the furry kind instead.
Why are our pets so important to our us? We gain much from our relationships with our animal brothers and sisters.
“The loving, innocent world of animals serves as a good example for me. The more you stop to observe animals and learn from them, the healthier and more peaceful your life will be.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
I’m sure you can speak personally of the benefits of the animals in our lives. From
greater self-esteem, being less lonely and less fearful than people without pets.
Pets provide their owners with physical and emotional benefits. Walking a dog can supply both the human and pet with exercise, fresh air, and social interaction.
Pets can give companionship. They bring us closer to our Creator. The biblical story of the flood illustrates God’s love for animals. And Jesus emphasized God’s love for every member of creation when He said: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight” (Lk. 12:6).
BTW – The metaphysical interpretation of that verse is ’when we use all that is available to us, the 5 elements (earth, air, fire. Water & the ether) when creating with our thoughts, we create positive abundance.’
If you are interested in metaphysically interpreting messages, verses, etc. talk with me later. Or come to the Basics class on Saturday!
“Animals are closer to God than humans. They are closer to the source. The humans are more lost in the mind forms.” Echart Tolle
Our dogs have had to adapt to living with humans over the past 10,000 years, and they have done it very well—they are the only animal to have evolved specifically to be our companions and friends. Anthropologist Brian Hare has developed the “Domestication Hypothesis” to explain how dogs morphed from their grey wolf ancestors into the socially-skilled animals with whom we now interact in very much the same way that we relate to other people.
In fact, our relationships with dogs can be even more satisfying than our human relationships, if for no other reason than dogs provide us with such unconditional, uncritical positive feedback.
Interacting with dogs makes us feel good, and just looking at them can make us smile. Dog owners score higher on measures of well-being and, on average, they are happier than people who own cats and those who own no pets at all.
And dogs seem to feel the same way about us. They have been selectively bred through generations to pay attention to us, and MRI scans show that dog brains respond to praise from their owners just as strongly as they do to food—for some dogs, praise is an even more effective incentive than food.
If the idea of cuddling with a pet to help ward off allergies seems a little backwards to you, the following may come as a surprise: University of Wisconsin-Madison pediatrician James E. Gern has conducted a number of studies that demonstrate having a pet in the home can actually lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by as much as 33 percent. In fact, his research — as published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology — shows that children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems overall.
I am sure you know about the studies in prisons showing a decrease violence and destructive behavior among psychopaths when they work with animals. And we know the introduction of dogs in the prison systems have shown increased benefits to prisoner’s rehabilitation.
As the old saying goes, “May I become the kind of person that my dog thinks I already am.”
Dogs recognize people from their facesand can learn to infer human emotional states from facial expression alone. Studies also indicate that dogs can understand human intentions, that they try to be helpful to us, and that they will even avoid people who do not cooperate with us or treat us well.
Dogs communicate with us as no other animal does. They are skilled at comprehending spoken words and using their own vocalizations to communicate with us in return.
Our strong attachment to dogs was subtly revealed in a recent study of “misnaming.” This is what happens when you call someone by the wrong name, such as when parents mistakenly call one of their kids by a sibling’s name. It turns out that the name of the family dog frequently gets confused in the same mix as other human family members, indicating that the dog’s name is being pulled out of the same cognitive pool in which the names of other family members are swimming around. Curiously, this rarely happens with cat names.
This shows us ever more how important our animals are…that they really are a part of our families.
So, losing a pet can be devastating to us.
Psychologist Julie Axelrod pointed out that the loss of a dog is so painful because we are not losing just one thing; we experience multiple losses at the same time. We may be losing our primary companion, a source of unconditional love, a “life witness” who provides security and comfort to us, or as my friend said when her little 18 year old Yorkie passed, “She was the longest relationship I had.”
The loss of a dog seriously disrupts our daily routine, even more profoundly than the loss of most friends and relatives, and changes in lifestyle and routine are one of the primary building blocks of stress.
Unfortunately, there’s little in our cultural playbook—no grief rituals, no obituary in the local newspaper, no religious service—to help us get through the loss of a pet, which can make us feel more than a bit embarrassed to show too much public grief over our dead dogs.
Maybe that’s something we as a Community should look into…
A Pet’s Prayer: “Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in the entire world is more grateful for your kindness than mine. Don’t be angry with me for long, and don’t strike me, chain me or lock me up as punishment. After all, you have your job, your friends and your entertainment. I only have you.”
If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food everyday with excitement and gratitude,
If you can greet your loved ones with a huge kiss no matter how long they’ve left you alone,
If you can ignore a friend’s limitations and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help, relax without liquor, and sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics,
And if you can welcome each day as if it is your first,
Then, my friend, you are almost as good as my dog!
A hard example to follow…
“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.” — John Muir
I realize much of this mentioned dogs but I know that those of you who hold the love of other animals in your heart feel the same
Let’s hear some stories from some of you…
And now, let’s Bless them…look at your pet if they are here with you, touch them or look at the picture you are holding, envision them in your mind and heart. Our loved ones may be physically away from us, but they are forever in our heart. So, when we remember them in our prayers, we envision their inner light of God shining through.
Remember, when we grieve for them, it is the love we are feeling coming through.
And if your pet is with you, envision love and light surrounding them and radiating through them.
We are reminded that all creatures are loved by our God.
So, take a moment to remember the love you have received or are receiving from your pet. Let them know that you understand they are part of the Creator’s world and are Blessed and loved very much by Spirit just as you love them.
So, thank them for their love and faithfulness toward you and for Blessing your life and home. Promise to protect them from harm and illness. And to love them throughout your life.
What is a leader? Do you know?
When Benjamin Franklin wanted to introduce street lighting to the people of colonial Philadelphia, he did not lobby politicians,
he did not publish editorials,
he did not argue with those who disagreed with him.
Instead, …he simply hung a brilliant lantern on a long bracket in front of his own house.
Every evening, as dusk approached, …. he faithfully lit the wick.
People out in the dark night could see Franklin’s streetlight from blocks away and were grateful to walk in its friendly glow.
Soon Franklin’s neighbors started putting lanterns on brackets in front of their own homes,
and it wasn’t long before the entire city was illuminated each night with street lamps.
Of course, we all know Ben Franklin was and is considered a leader.
A minister was standing at the back of the Church greeting people as they were leaving one morning.
“Good morning” she said to a little boy who was waiting in line to see her.
“I’ve been waiting to tell you something that happened to me,” he said.
“Wonderful,” she said.
“Ever since I was little, I always wanted to be a bunny rabbit.
I always wished I were furry and free to hop and run all over.
I wished and I wished
but I finally gave up
because I saw that I was never going to get my wish and become a rabbit.
Then, ….. last week a miracle happened.”
“Really,” she chuckled imagining that he had received a special pet rabbit.
“Yes,” he said with his eyes wide in wonder.
“After all this time of wishing, …..one night I had a dream,
and in my dream, ……I was a bunny rabbit and I felt what it was like to be furry and free …… and run and hop and play.
I had a wonderful time and I got my wish.”
“That’s wonderful,” she agreed.
“But that’s not all,” he said excitedly.
“During my dream, …..God showed me how wonderful it is to be a bunny rabbit
and when I woke up
I realized that the feelings that I wanted to feel in being a bunny rabbit are already inside me.
SO, I’VE BEEN CARRYING WHAT I WANTED WITH ME ALL ALONG.”
His eyes were wide with recognition and hers were filled with tears of appreciation at his newly found inner splendor.
“Thank you for sharing your wonderful story with me,” she managed to get out.
“I just thought you’d like to know,” he said as he smiled and walked off with his mom into the crowd.
Is this little boy a leader?
A man and his son were taking a walk in the forest.
Suddenly his son trips and feeling a sharp pain he screams, “Ahhhh!”
Surprised, he hears a voice coming from the mountain, “Ahhhhh!”
Filled with curiosity, he screams, “Who are you?
But the only answer he receives is “Who are you?”
This makes him angry, so he screams, “You are a coward!”
and the voice answers, “You are a coward!”
He looks at his father, asking, “Dad, what is going on?”
“Son”, …….the man replies, …….“Pay attention!”
Then he screams, ……“I admire you!
The voice answers,….. “I admire you!”
The father shouts,….. “You are wonderful!”
And the voice answers,….. “You are wonderful!”
The boy is surprised, but still can’t understand what is going on.
Then the father explains,
“People call this an ‘echo’ but truly it is ‘life!’
It gives you back that which you CHOOSE to put in it.
It is simply a reflection of who we are.”
Is this father a leader?
Are you a leader?
Sure you are……
we all are at one time or another.
Don’t you know
that if you have seen leadership qualities in another,
then those qualities are in you also.
What have you done with that leadership ability?
That is the question.
The word “leadership” can bring to mind a variety of images as we just have shown. Here are a few more:
• A political leader,…. pursuing a passionate, personal cause.
• An explorer,…cutting a path through the jungle for the rest of his group to follow.
• An executive, …..developing her company’s strategy to beat the competition.
Leaders help themselves………. and others………. to do the right things.
They set direction, build an inspiring vision, and create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go to “win” as a team or an organization.
This is why we held a visioning last year
and why we moved here
and why we asked Carol to use her ability and knowledge of Feng Shui
so our space would be welcoming to others,
to help our community spread the word about Unity.
We are using our leadership abilities to grow ourselves and aid each other on our Spiritual Journey.
Spiritual leadership involves motivating and inspiring community through faith in a vision of service to key stakeholders…….you.
The purpose of spiritual leadership
is to tap into the fundamental needs of both leaders and followers
for spiritual well-being through conveying that life has meaning and makes a difference
and through membership (belonging);
to create vision and value across the congregation;
ultimately, to foster higher levels of well-being, commitment, and social responsibility.
While spiritual leadership involves many of the same principles as general leadership, spiritual leadership has certain distinctive qualities that must be understood and practiced if spiritual leaders are to be successful.
Leaders share their gift of leadership by sharing courageous ideas in compelling and inspiring ways.
They demonstrate integrity,……. intelligence,…… creativity,……
enthusiasm…… and humility.
That is why I ask what are you doing when you walk out the door? What are you thinking and saying and doing? Are you putting the Unity Principles into practice?
Doing so promotes your leadership ability.
So you can see that your participation in the leadership of this Community,
in whatever way………is important.
Everyone has the responsibility of leadership.
Our Members are asked to further the work of Unity of Rehoboth Beach through active interest, love and support, including but not limited to regular attendance at services and programs, financial support and ongoing volunteer services.
Jesus is our example of spiritual leadership. He led the 12, teaching them through lessons and parables, and his example. And gave us a perfect guide for our lives. He showed us that we journey better when we journey with others.
It’s much more difficult to achieve connection to God if we try to do it alone. When we come together—as we in Unity do each Sunday—we find it easier to see the Christ expressing as each other than it is to see it in ourselves. And seeing it in each other becomes an easier path to recognizing it in ourselves.
We help ourselves and each other by sharing our gifts and experiences, by service to Unity and the larger community.
It was Jane Goodell who reminded us,
“You cannot get through a single day ….. without having an impact on the world around you.
What you do makes a difference,
and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
We develop our leadership by letting our inner light shine
and letting it ripple out into the world.
This is our first step in leading a change, …….a change in ourselves as leaders.
Use your God-given gifts ……. and lead where they take you.
World Day of Prayer
With all that has been happening as the years go by, I’m guessing that many of you have been praying a lot; no matter how you do that. From the simple prayer we said as children preparing for bed, to the Lord’s Prayer, taught to the disciples by Jesus; prayers are varied and mean lots of different things to different people.
As we prepare for World Day of Prayer this Thursday, I ask you to consider what you pray for and how you go about it.
Many people of different faiths engage in the practice of prayer. Whatever the individual belief, prayer helps settle the body and open the heart and mind to a deeper awareness of God. All people who pray are part of a powerful circle of prayer
In my former days, and when my knees were in better shape!; kneeling with hands clasped was accepted. My Mother was Catholic, and in my search for where I belonged, I tried it. The rituals were interesting, making one feel a part of something sacred. The message didn’t fit for me and so, even though I went back several times, I couldn’t stay.
I grew up in the United Methodists church, before I started yearning for something more. Even though we were told as children that God and Jesus loved us, we were also told we were sinners and going to hell.
Now you can understand why I was searching for a place to belong.
There were many years when I had no special spiritual place. Though I did have spiritual experiences, mostly in the conversations I was having with people I came across in my teaching and especially, coaching. And my time with nature, beach and forest, of course. As wonderful as that was, it still was not what I needed.
Thankfully, I was doing the work that we must do to get to know who we truly are. That’s what the search is all about. I stripped off layers of scars, lessons, errors, everything I needed to do to connect with my Inner Christ, to connect with God. Still working on it!
And finally I was introduced to Unity. I often say Unity saved me. At least I believe that. It turned me in the direction I was seeking but couldn’t quite find.
What does all this have to do with World Day of Prayer? Everything. We all must take those steps to find who we are. We must dig through and connect with our God…the God of our understanding, by whatever name we use.
The name does not matter because no name is enough. The God of my understanding cannot be held within a word. My God is much bigger that I can imagine. I suspect yours is like that too. We do tend to think of God as small, limited by our minds. Spirit is not small at all.
This is why, when Unity teaches prayer, we ask you to relax and clear your mind first. We cannot get in touch with our Higher Being if we are concerned about what to make for dinner or where that last bit of money we need will come from. So, we relax, breathe deeply and let go of any and all outer concerns.
We ask ourselves to concentrate on God, Spirit within. And then open our mind and heart to the presence of Spirit. Be receptive to that Spirit in mind & heart. Remember, the heart is truly smarter than the brain! “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
As we embrace the silence, we connect with our Higher Self. We allow that peace and blessing to fill our body and soul.
And when we are ready to conclude our time with God, we always give thanks. We are grateful for our gifts received from our Creator.
But we also know that prayer does not just have to be a time set aside for talking with our Higher Self. A simple Thank You is a powerful prayer. I say it a lot through my day. It’s thanking that Higher Power for the insight given, maybe direction we were seeking or just reminding us to slow down and flitter away with a beautiful butterfly.
Another way to be more conscious through your day is to do everything mindfully. Yes, learn to do everything wholeheartedly no matter how ordinary or mundane a job it may be. When you learn to do this, everything you do will be done with real joy and all the grind will be taken out of it, and you will see life as it really is, filled with God, for you recognize our Creator in everything.
So, be more conscious when you are doing the laundry, mowing the lawn and making dinner. And ESPECIALLY, be mindful when eating your meals. Grateful for what you have before you and all the hands and lives that helped to get it to your table.
And maybe even more important, wholeheartedness when we interact with each other, no matter who the other person is; this will help to spread peace and love through our world.
This, I believe, is one of the important actions that is missing between many peoples; between friends and families. Communities and nations.
Ask yourself what energy you are placing in the world. Peace? Love? Compassion? Or hate, anger and pain?
We’ve asked these questions many times before, and we must continue to ask them to do our part in this world.
And it always starts with you….
Myrtle Fillmore said, –“So get busy using the Truth you know … Bring forth your own joyous world of love, friendship, beauty, and plenty. God is giving everything required to build such a world. There is within you the God-given intelligence to build such a world. Get at it!”
So, let’s put the Unity prayer method into practice and go into the quiet:
Close your eyes. Relax, breathe deeply, and let go of outer concerns.
Quiet your mind. Begin to focus your thoughts on the spirit of God within you.
With an open mind and a receptive heart, feel the peace of God’s presence. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 RSV).
4. Embrace the Silence
In the silence of your soul, know that you are one with God. Allow this realization to permeate your being.
5. Give Thanks
“For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” –Isaiah 56:7